Microsoft adds real-time search capabilities to its Bing search engine as it seeks to knock Google from its search perch. Now users can use Bing to find the latest Twitter tweets from celebrities and other persons of note, including high-tech journalists. The move comes as startups CrowdEye, Collecta and others are propagating the Web with real-time search.
Microsoft July 1 added the ability for users to search
Twitter tweets with its Bing search engine, the company's latest attack
on Google's search stronghold.
The feature is real-time search, or the ability to locate
data generated at a specific moment in time online. Microblog service Twitter
has given rise to this phenomenon, with millions of users leaving brief
messages throughout the day.
However, modern search engines were not programmed to
account for such immediacy; high-tech reporters have been complaining for
months that search engines don't index real-time search data from Twitter and
other content sources. Bing's move changes that, as Sean Suchter, general manager of Microsoft's Search
"Today we're unveiling an initial
foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting
with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of
spheres. This includes Tweets from folks from our own search technology and
business sphere like Danny Sullivan or Kara Swisher as well as those from
spheres of more general consumer appeal like Al Gore or Ryan Seacrest."
For example, users who type "Al Gore Twitter"
returned his last couple of tweets. A search on "TechCrunch tweets"
returned tweets from TechCrunch writer Robin Wauters. Clicking on a "see
more tweets" link below the subject's tweets takes users to the subject's
The same searches on Google only return the subjects'
Twitter profiles, but not tweets.
Beyond catering to the vanity of journalists and
celebrities, the real-time search feature is most significant for Microsoft's Bing team
, which is working hard to gain a
competitive toehold versus Google, whose search engine logs at least 65 percent
of the world's searches. Facebook is also working hard to surface more
immediate data in its social network.
Suchter said Bing is not indexing Twitter in its entirety
just yet; this is a gradual rollout. "We picked a few thousand people to
start, based primarily on their follower count and volume of tweets. We think
this is an interesting first step toward using Twitter's public API to surface
Tweets in people search."
Microsoft is hardly the first to crack this nut. A legion
of startups have sprouted up
to leverage the Twitter API and tackle the real-time search
dilemma. Sterling Market Intelligence analyst Greg Sterling told eWEEK:
"What other people do with the API will be
interesting to see. You've seen CrowdEye, Collecta, OneRiot and Topsy rushing
into the real-time search space because Twitter has popularized this concept.
We'll see if it totally gets coopted by the big guys or if it emerges as a
separate category that can be won by somebody smaller."
However, in the grand scheme of things, real-time search
may not mean much, as Sterling said: "Other than doing certain monitoring
activities, or tracking news stories or brand mentions, there's not a lot there
for the mainstream user."
See more posts on Bing's real-time search efforts on TechMeme here